Our MPs voted against joining the US and the French in a proposed military strike against the Syrian Regime. Were they right or is this our MPs overcompensating for the mistakes made about Iraq and Afghanistan?
My issue is not that we are not involved in a coordinated attack, but that other countries are effectively proposing a “strike” because of the chemical weapons. I have said for several months now that something had to be done. We know from all those who have spent time with Assad or know him hat he is not that strong a leader, despite holding out for the last two years in this civil war if pressed from an international angle many believe that he’d buckle. Russia and Iran would not come running to his defence as many predict because the Russians are not stupid enough to cross America at the moment and Iran are making big moves to reconcile differences across the middle east and with the US.
We appear as outsiders to have treated this as a wee skirmish on the periphery of our lives and the politicians have paid basic lip service to it – but to propose going in all guns blazing is not the answer – why is it we are either keeping these issues at arm’s length or going in at full force. The US, whether anyone likes it or not, is the power house of the world; it holds the strings and influence across the globe. With the right support for the opposition and a sensible support system this conflict could have been over long before Assad released the chemical weapon. The only positive this week is that people have finally woken up to the fact that we can no longer sit back on this issue.
While I’m disappointed that we won’t have an involvement in this, I’m pleased too that our politicians are finally realising that there are other options – unfortunately they voted those down as well. It seems to me as an observer from the outside many felt that they needed to be seen to do the right thing but weren’t quite sure what that actually was. The facts are simple – not complicated as we’re told by the politicians to make us feel inferior – ten of thousands of innocent civilians including huge numbers of children have been murdered in the last two years in a fight between a despised dictatorial figure and his people. Yes there are different groups with different interests, beliefs and opinions on the future of their country but the way things are going there won’t be a country left soon.
We had a chance and so do America and France to push the right way in this fight and help to free the people to make their own decisions with support and guidance from the international community. Look at Egypt and Libya – neither is perfect as we know from recent events – but there are changes, voices being heard and a real dialogue on the future of their country from within. We need to support and not “Strike” Syria. It’s no wonder it was voted down because if we have learnt nothing else in the last decade or so it’s that bombing the hell out of a country does not make anyone safer or us more popular. But to do nothing and just be spectators to one of the worst examples of civil war this century, even before the chemical attack which was truly abhorrent, is both inexcusable and regrettable.
We appear to be more concerned though that our relationship with America has been damaged by this vote, when all I think is that we’re effectively turning our backs on those people in Syria who are sitting waiting for someone to help them and we as a democracy have said it’s not our problem or fight. To bomb the country to pieces is wrong, but so is doing nothing. Our decision that it is “nothing to do with us” is a dangerous precedent and one that could leave many more Syrians in danger.
I just hope that the next steps taken by the international forces of the UN are measured, considered and reasonable – otherwise our politicians will be proved right.